By Natalie DiBlasio, USA TODAY
It feels like turning a blow dryer on high and pointing it at your face, opening the door to a burning oven, being stuck too close to a campfire.
This is what residents of the West say they feel every time they step outside - and things are only starting to heat up.
Temperatures could soon reach 130 degrees in parts of Arizona, California and Nevada and residents are doing all they can not to melt.
"Think of baking or barbequing," says Mike Barr, 42, of Phoenix. "When you first open that oven door or that grill lid, that blast of heat almost makes your skin go instantly into leather - that's what it feels like."
A normal high temperature in Las Vegas for this time of year is 102 degrees; in Phoenix, 107; and in Palm Springs, 104.
The weather service has issued extreme heat warnings, which mean that "temperatures are forecast to reach dangerous levels that will stress the body if precautions are not taken," according to a weather service bulletin.
"No human being can acclimate to this kind of heat," says Eli Jacks, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "It doesn't matter where you are from, this type of heat is dangerous."
Sgt. Tommy Thompson, spokesman for the Phoenix police, says the department will be extra careful when performing their duties.
"When we arrest people, we sometimes have them go to the ground but we have to be careful so they don't get burns from the asphalt or concrete," Thompson says.
Thompson says the department often gets calls to check on people who might need help during this time of the year when it's been extremely hot.
"One of our concerns in this heat is the homeless people," he says. "Some of our people carry water with them in case they come across someone who is homeless and is at risk or vulnerable."
It's not just the homeless Thompson is worried about; some people don't have adequate air conditioning in their homes.
"It may be 120 outside, and it doesn't take long for the house to get that hot," Thompson says. "It can have disastrous effects."
The heat's impact on infrastructure like homes and roads can also be a problem.
"Heat basically causes things to expand and it can melt things. These are the big concerns," says Randy Cerveny, professor of Geographical Sciences at Arizona State University. "Out here in the West we have ways to deal with it. We actually break the road with expansion cracks to deal with these kinds of situations."
In Boulder City, Nev., temperatures are expected to reach 118 on Sunday, and resident Becky Heckenlively, 42, is worried about losing power.
"The heat - it literally takes your breath away. It's so dramatic," Heckenlively says. "It's exhausting. It just depletes all of the energy you have."
Lisa Balash, 43 of Las Vegas, says she gets scared when it gets this hot.
"If you turn off your car and don't open the door in 5 seconds, it's unbearable - and who knows what the heat does to your car?" Balash says.
"I have two dogs, and I am always worried that something could go wrong with the air conditioning," Balash says. "It gets so hot so fast."
Lydia Pasillas, 38, of Merced, Calif., is a single mother with five children, one who uses a wheelchair.
"It's going to be too hot," she says. "To stay safe, we are all going to stay indoors. It's just way too hot."
Pasillas has stocked up on lemon water, coconut water and grapes to keep her children hydrated.
"Today it's 106. 106 is crazy. Triple digits," Pasillas says. "It feels like there is no oxygen in the air."
Walter McMath, who was guiding the Segway tour of downtown Reno, says he plans to attach a mister with a fan to the front of his scooter.
And while he may need to avoid conducting afternoon tours during the hottest days of the heat wave, McMath says, there is a silver lining to the heat.
"I've got friends coming over tomorrow night from Phoenix, and it was 115 degrees there," he says. "So they're going to be here for a week cooling down, you could say."
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Contributing: Brain Duggan, Reno Gazette-Journal